A dazzling, highly acclaimed novel of modern India - as shocking as it is affecting, as funny as it is serious
Irreverent, farcical and as enlightening as it is entertaining, The Peacock Throne is a novel of breathtaking scope and reach, which looks deep into the heart of human nature and into the soul of modern India.
October 31 1984 begins like any other day for Gopal Pandey as he sets up his tea stall in a lane off Chandni Chowk, the most magnificent and crowded street in all Delhi. At its head lies Red Fort, once the home of the gem-encrusted Peacock Throne, symbol of the Mughal Empires dazzling might and of its downfall.
By the end of the day, Indira Gandhi has been assassinated, violent riots have erupted and Gopal is the bemused possessor of a large sum of money. Fourteen turbulent years and four dramatic turning points in Indian history later, this myopic, bumbling man stands on the verge of immense political power.
Gopal's unlikely journey is a tale of accidents, scheming, murder and tragedy, religious and political rivalries, corruption and hubris.
The story is teeming with life. Saraf's incredible attention to detail brings the sights, sounds and smells of Delhi right off the page . . . a fascinating read - Daily Express
Wonderful . . . Bleak and shocking as well as entertaining and comical, Sujit Saraf's intelligent novel is a remarkable feat. - Sunday Express
Gives a more truthful picture of twenty-first-century India than anything in the earnest pages of the Wall Street Journal . . . a terrific read - Independent
Every self-interested acquaintance, every class and caste, all are pinned down and exposed by Saraf's prose. He has a gift for getting under the skin of a vast range of humanity . . . highly entertaining' - Guardian
Teems with memorable characters and historical figures, plots and subplots...Saraf's rambunctious commentary on the nature of greed and mendacity is enthralling, but it's the lives of the ordinary people that provide the real drama - Daily Mail
His cast of characters is large, various and skilfully drawn, and the chaotic life of the city is brilliantly evoked - Daily Telegraph
The ambitious scope of his epic is remarkable - The Observer
Sujit Saraf was born in India in 1969. He was educated in Darjeeling and Delhi, and graduated as an engineer from IIT in 1991. He subsequently studied at Berkely, receiving a PhD in 1997. His first novel, Limbo, was published by HarperCollins India in 1994 and in 1995 he co-founded the theatre company, Naatak, for which he has written and directed plays as well as two feature films. In 1999, after two years of conducting research for NASA, he moved back to India to teach at IIT, but a year later returned to the United States. He currently works as a research scientist on space missions and satellite control, and lives with his wife and daughter in San Jose, California.